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Downtown Boise’s Spacebar will expand, move – but not too far

Boise’s Spacebar is getting a bit crowded – and soon will move to a new galaxy. A galaxy… not far far away.

The 21-and-older mix of arcade and bar will move just down the block to 620 W. Idaho, which folks who have been in Boise a while might know as the old Louie’s Pizza location.

“We hit a critical mass with the space we are in,” Spacebar co-owner Will Hay said. “We felt like there was no where to go because our friends at Boise Fry Co have leased pretty much the rest of the building – so we couldn’t really expand in the space we were in even though we really like it and the underground vibe.”

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Hay and his business partner were considering options when they happened to see a for lease sign in the window of the building right next door. Spacebar will go into the basement level of 1940s-era building. A previously announced project to build a large coffee shop in the space didn’t materialize, due to the pandemic, according to the building’s owner.

Louie's Boise
The former Louie’s restaurant building in Boise is set to get new life. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

For Spacebar, it provides a number of opportunities – including expansion to a full liquor bar.

“We’re going to have essentially the same footprint, we’ll have a few more pinball and arcade games,” Hay said. “We’ll also have a dedicated console area, a dedicated stage that will double as seating when we aren’t having an event.”

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Hay said they will add a few more pinball and arcade games to the expanded space too.

During the pandemic, they started up a screen printing operation in Hay’s garage to keep busy while Spacebar was closed. That will also move into the new Idaho St. location.

“It will be a cool juxtaposition. We want to push the brand a little bit further – and also we’ve got some other projects we are working on. Hopefully, it will bring more fun and excitement and creativity to the community.”

Bar, restaurant coming too

Ryan Gaston, VP of Development for Barclay Group, which owns the building, said plans for the upstairs portion of the building are also moving forward.

“We have also leased the top floor to a new restaurant and a bar,” Gaston said – noting it will be two separate tenants. “We are going to start our remodel in about two weeks for the entire building. Hoping for a fall opening for all three tenants.”

The building first sprung up in 1940, when Benito Ysursa spent $26,000 to build the 9,000 square foot building for a Basque Boarding house known as The Valencia.

Over the years, a number of restaurants took up residence, including Levi’s Alley – which got its name for the former red-light district that surrounded the current Boise City Hall. It also housed The Valencia Restaurant, Les’s Stereo Lounge, and finally Louie’s.

Don Day - BoiseDev editor
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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